THE WORLD IN GENERAL IS CHANGING, AS WELL AS OUR ENERGY WORLD
About one year ago, when I met the doctor who’s the principle at disasterdoc.org, he shared with me the work he did in the Marshall Islands in order to assist the local people with the severe flooding that had hit the islands. The Marshall Islands are situated in the open ocean located about halfway between Hawaii and Australia, in the region of the Pacific known as Micronesia. While for other parts of the world climate change still seems to be a distant theme, in the Marshal Islands the effects of climate change are already a hard daily reality. With the rising sea water level, the very existence of their nation is being threatened and along with them many other low-lying nations. In Bangladesh alone, for example, it is projected that some 17 percent of the land could very well be flooded by 2050, displacing about 18 million people.
During this particular flooding, a large part of the islands were under water, the crops were damaged and there was not enough food to feed the local community. The people were eating leaves from trees in order to survive. The well-being level of the local people, which was already at a very low level, dropped to almost zero. People were not even able anymore to provide in their basic needs of food and water. Their climate and environment has changed forever and so has their well-being and that of millions of other people around the world.
Although low lying areas such as the Marshall Islands are particularly prone and doomed to be affected first, none of the rest of the world is exempt from the perils of the pending climate change. Whereas before the debate centered on whether or not climate change as a result of global warming was really as alarming an issue as put forth by many environmentalists, today the facts are clear. Climate change is unfortunately a force to be reckoned with and whose impact as of yet we cannot totally foresee.
Nowadays most of us realize now that the rising sea level is directly related to the earth’s global warming. It is almost impossible today to continue to question the phenomena of greenhouse gasses, global warming, the melting ice on the Antarctic and the rising sea water level.
The biggest questions facing us today are “Can our planet withstand the huge human footprint that we as modern human beings have created?” and “What are the answers to the problems we face today as a result of this huge footprint?”
People often ask themselves the question where all of these problems started. To answer this question we need to go back to the primate human who had very basic needs, such as food, body coverage (clothes) and shelter. They were an intimate part of nature and only took from nature just what was needed to survive. As human beings in general have a natural drive to look for better solutions for problems or to have a better life, a natural growth process emerged. A few hundred years ago, after the discovery of fossil fuel, this natural human drive led to the invention of fossil fuel machinery. Shortly after, the car was invented and people started to enjoy the luxury of the car as the major transportation all over the world. It did not stop there, however.
Big fossil fuel driven vessels and airplanes became part of our evolving world. In the eighteenth and beginning nineteenth century, we had the industrial revolution where we had an enormous upscaling of energy use, resulting in massive pollution. Although it seems that over time our wealth and wellness level was increasing, generally speaking the balance in life was disappearing. More and more people were and still are spending most of their time in offices and factories, with less and less time left for social activities, rest and proper food preparation, while living in an ever increasing polluted world.
The changes in the lifestyle of the human race became at one point detrimental for Mother Earth! Actually the major part of the processes from the modern world are based on combustion of fossil fuels resulting in discharge of CO2, CH4 an N2O greenhouse gasses as waste into the environment. These gasses are mainly responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer leading to higher temperatures on earth, melting of the ice at the Antarctic and rising of the sea level. Whether you believe it or not, changing of the global climate is a fact. We cannot ignore anymore the desert forming, earthquakes and excessive flooding. Some leaders may have had good intentions but, their message was not consistent with their own behaviors, which is the basis of creating trust in us as regular human beings.
If we look more closely at the fossil fuel combustion processes we see that all combustion, whether it be petrol, diesel, propane or butane gas, has a major destructive effect on the Ozone layer and impact global warming. The unfortunate people on the Marshall islands, who could not feed themselves anymore due to the higher sea water level, have nothing to do with the industrial revolution and excessive use of polluting processes, yet they are the victims and so are millions people all over the world. The climate change is the result of so many changes activated by us as human beings and it will take our collective effort to help turn the tide.
After the industrial revolution the economy kept on booming and eventually started to collapse a few years ago. Corporate businesses started breaking down at unprecedented rates and social media became popular, giving individuals a stronger direct voice. Now we slowly see a new economy emerging where small and mid-size companies are once again becoming the driving force of many countries. Internet business has become mainstream and more than 3 billion people will get on the internet within the coming three years. People are getting more conscious of their possibilities in the newly emerging economy, of their environment and the changing energy market. People are slowly moving away from fossil energy, knowing that by reducing the use of fossil fuels they are helping to reduce the human footprint. Addressing the issue of applying renewable energy is therefore becoming not only an issue of the shrinking fossil fuel reserves, but in fact more about the existence of the human race for generations to come.